March 2016 Newsletter

A Message from Heating the Midwest Executive Committee
While the 2015-2016 winter has been one of the warmest average temperatures in the last century which limits user interest in heating, winter storm Petros is upon us as I type this.  We could use a little reality check with the mild winter we’ve had.  I’m hopeful that the feasibility of wood, chip and pellet heating continues to be a firm interest in the minds of those in our region since our study (Midwest Vision) validated over 12,000,000 homes and businesses not connected to natural gas. That said, please spread the word about HTM’s 2016 Conference & Expo coming in Michigan this fall (HTM 2016 Conference).  We appreciate each of you stressing the values that biomass heating brings to the economy, energy and environment.  Spring greetings to each of you!
-HTM Executive Committee

HTM 5th Conference & Expo (Fall 2016) – Opportunity to Get Involved!
Are you interested in getting more involved in biomass thermal energy? The 5th Annual Heating the Midwest Conference & Expo will be held October 1113, 2016near Escanaba, MI, and planning is underway!
We welcome your insight and energy to make next year’s event the best yet! We are holding monthly meetings, and have subcommittees established. For more information on how you can get involved in the planning committee or a subcommittee, please contact the respective chair noted below for your area of interest:

NEBHX is 8 Days Away- Are you Ready?
Click here
 for more information.

Proposed Tax Credit Bill for Residential Biomass Heating Systems in Minnesota
A proposed tax credit bill for residential biomass heating systems is in the works this legislative session in Minnesota. Key points in the bill include:
  • Refundable tax credit equal to the lesser of 33 percent of the purchase price of the system or $5,000 dollars;
  • Must be a certified residential wood heater or residential hydronic heater that meets the EPA’s 2015 Standards of Performance; and
  • Will be effective for five years beginning in tax year 2017 through 2021.
Please direct any questions or comments to Gregg Mast at
BTEC Announces New Executive Director Jeff Serfass
The Board of Directors of the Biomass Thermal Energy Council (BTEC) officially announced the appointment of Jeff Serfass to take over for Joel Stronberg as BTEC’s Executive Director. Jeff has led the organization in its formative years in 2009 and 2010 and has continued to provide guidance as BTEC’s Senior Advisor.

MHA Annual Meeting
The Masonry Heater Association of North America is having their annual meeting in April on a mountain top in NC. MHA conduct’s their annual meetings plus teach masonry heater, oven, and cook stove building over the course of 7 days. MHA’s annual meeting has attendee’s from all over the world fly in to discuss and teach clean wood burning. One of the new firebox designs that MHA is teaching and testing at this meeting is burning at .4g/hr so very near Carbon Neutral. That is fairly big news.
For information on this years annual meeting and to view information and photo’s from past meetings, click here.
Proposals for Wood-to-Energy Projects
The Office of the Arizona State Forestry is seeking proposals for wood-to-energy projects.
Utilizing Urban Wood Waste
Meghan Martin, BTEC
As efforts to conserve and recycle natural resources increase, urban wood waste utilization projects are becoming more popular in cities across the U.S.St. Paul, Minnesota, has had great success in using urban wood to heat 80 percent of its commercial, residential, and industrial buildings in the downtown area. Heat is provided by District Energy, which operates a hot water district heating system.
Read more
Have Biomass Project Ideas for SWET?
Michigan Statewide Wood Energy Team
Minnesota Statewide Wood Energy Team
Wisconsin Statewide Wood Energy Team
Register Today for an Amazing Opportunity!
Register for a 10 Week Hydronic-Based Biomass Heating Systems Course.

Heating the Midwest-Become an Action Team Volunteer!
If you have a specific area of interest related to biomass thermal, we welcome your participation in one or all of HTM’s three action teams-Biomass Combustion Technologies, Policy & Benefits, and Biomass Resources & Demographics. Is your time often stretched? No problem. Time committed to the HTM effort is volunteer time. The teams meet monthly via conference call, and calls are limited to one hour in respect of members’ time and busy schedules. Members may choose to volunteer more of their time individually to support Action Team specific projects as they arise.  The work of each of the action teams involves developing “boots on the ground” projects for spurring action, discussing industry challenges in each sector and how to possibly address, networking and supporting the overall goals and vision of the Heating the Midwest with Renewable Biomass initiative in an effort to grow demand and expand marketing opportunities in the biomass thermal sector, and create awareness of biomass thermal. Following is a list of the schedule for the action team calls:
Biomass Combustion Technologies Action Team
Meets first Tuesday of each month at 9:00 a.m. CST
Policy & Benefits Action Team
Meets second Tuesday of each month at 9:00 a.m. CST
Biomass Resources & Demographics Action Team
Meets third Monday of each month at 10:00 a.m. CST
For more detailed information on the Biomass Combustion Technologies or Policy & Benefits Action Teams, please contact Nan Larson at or via phone at: (507) 537-6020. And for details pertaining to the Biomass Resources & Demographics Action Team, please contact Becky Philipp at or via phone at (218) 280-8575.
Call for Your Midwest Biomass Stories and Events for April Newsletter
As you’ve seen month after month; companies, governments, and communities around the Midwest are making progress on biomass heating and combined heat and power (CHP) programs and projects. If you have a story or event to contribute for next month, please submit by close of business the 3rd Wednesday of the month to  And, if you’d like to be on the list to receive upcoming newsletters, please contact Tami Dahm at